In the five years since his hiring in February, 2016 as general manager of the Nets, Sean Marks has made trades that have had an impact on each of the succeeding six drafts. He continued that tradition prior to the start of the 2021 draft Thursday night at Barclays Center by trading sharpshooting guard Landry Shamet to the Suns for backup point guard Jevon Carter plus the No. 29 overall pick in the first round.
ESPN was first to report the deal, and Newsday confirmed it with a source. Marks went into the draft in possession of the No. 27 overall pick in the first round plus three second-round picks (Nos. 44, 49 and 59). By adding the Suns’ first-round pick, he added ammunition to possibly make a more significant move while also addressing the need for depth behind James Harden and Kyrie Irving, both of whom missed significant time with injuries last season.
Because of NBA rules, the trade will not become official and be announced until Aug. 6.
When the Nets’ turn finally came up at No. 27, Marks drafted LSU freshman shooting guard Cameron Thomas. He is 6-4 and averaged 23.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists. He shot a barely passing 32.5% from three-point range but had a great 88.2% free throw percentage.
Earlier in the day, the Nets traded Landry Shamet to the Suns for backup point guard Jevon Carter and the No. 29 pick in the first round. The Nets used that pick to draft 6-11 North Carolina center Day’Ron Sharpe, who can’t shoot from three-point range but who averaged 9.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists as a freshman.
There were reports earlier in the week that Shamet was available. He was acquired a year ago as part of a three-team draft night deal that netted Bruce Brown from the Pistons and Shamet and Reggie Perry from the Clippers. Prior to playing for the Clippers, Shamet played with the 76ers under current Suns head coach Monty Williams, who was a Sixers assistant at the time and obviously appreciates his 39.7% career three-point shooting percentage.
Carter is a three-year veteran who was drafted in the second round with the 32nd overall pick by the Grizzlies in 2018 before spending the past two seasons with the Suns. He has modest career averages of 4.5 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in an average of 14.3 minutes per game along with a 38.1% career three-point shooting percentage.
The big question following the Shamet trade was whether or not Marks might make yet another draft-day move to either acquire veteran talent or to move up for a cheaper rookie alternatives for the capped-out Nets, who are facing an enormous luxury tax obligation.
Multiple news reports indicated the Nets might package their most valuable trade asset, unrestricted free agent Spencer Dinwiddie as part of a three-team deal with the Lakers and Wizards. ESPN was first to report the Lakers plan to acquire Wizards guard Russell Westbrook in exchange for a package that includes veteran forwards Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell.
In a related move, the Nets could send Dinwiddie, who is eligible for a five-year deal worth $125 million that would have enormous luxury tax implications, to the Wizards to pair in the backcourt with Bradley Beal. According to the reports, the Wizards then would move Kuzma and Harrell to the Nets for Dinwiddie, whose name previously circulated in rumors of possible trades to the Lakers for Kuzma.
If the three-way deal with the Lakers and Wizards materializes, it would be a master stroke by Marks to use his biggest trade chip to acquire two veteran forwards. In the end, it is assured Marks will explore every trade avenue to improve the Nets.
Meet the newest Nets
The Nets drafted LSU shooting guard Cam Thomas at No. 27 and North Carolina center Day’RonSharpe at No. 29. Here are their stats:
He is 6-4 and averaged 23.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists. He shot a barely passing 32.5% from three-point range but had a great 88.2% free throw percentage.
He is 6-11 and can’t shoot from three-point range. He missed his only two three-point attempts. But Sharpe averaged 9.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists as a freshman. At the same time, he is an imposing 265-pound presence in the paint and can defend.